Crusty

Nibble

A recurring theme in my kitchen is that I struggle with making breads. I don’t know what it is about yeast but it vexes me to no end. The bread I make at home is either a complete bust or just blah. Yet still I persist in thinking that if I just find the right recipe, the mysterious world of yeast will finally make sense to me. That thinking never really worked out for me with geometry or algebra. But call me the optimist because I am determined to one day pull a bread out of my oven that is worthy of ooohs and aaahs and gets gobbled up leaving people looking around for more, even if it’s just a crumb. This experiment with focaccia is just one step toward that goal.

Because like the misunderstood bad boy you crush on as a teenager, this focaccia is nice enough, but it’s not something you want to take home to mamma. I’ve got a few more bread recipes in the test folder. Not to mention that Bon Appetit: Fast, Easy, Fresh has an entire chapter on breads. Maybe I need to try and start with what I already have instead of speed dating for the Mr. Right of bread recipes. Who knows, maybe like falling in love it has been right in front of me the whole time.

Tomato Rosemary Focaccia

Washington Post

  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 cups warm water (no hotter than 105 degrees)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1/4 ounce packet) active dry yeast
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the proofing bowl
  • 3 large Roma tomatoes, cut crosswise into 1/4 inch slices
  • Leaves from 1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Combine the water and yeast in a small bowl. Stir well and let sit for a few minutes, then add the 6 tablespoons olive oil. Add to the bowl with the flour and salt. Knead the dough for 10 minutes in the bowl, until it is smooth and elastic. In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, the dough should take about 6 minutes.

Generously grease a large bowl with oil or cooking spray. Transfer the kneaded dough to the bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot free of drafts and let sit for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in bulk.

Punch down the dough. Lightly grease a 17×12 or 15 x 10 rimmed baking sheet. Transfer the dough to the sheet and stretch it to fill to the edges. Place in a warm spot free of draft and let it sit for 30 to 45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in bulk. The dough should be visibly airy and will have risen just above the rim of the baking sheet. If it hasn’t risen that high, the dough can still be baked; the bread will just be flatter.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Liberally apply olive oil to the surface of the dough, then arrange the tomato slices on top. Use your fingers to dock the dough all over. Sprinkle evenly with the rosemary, grated cheese, and with salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until golden brown. For best results, rotate the pan front to back every 10 minutes during baking.

Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

{Printable Recipe}

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11 Responses to Crusty

  1. Emily Revere says:

    I need to learn how to KNEAD!

  2. Fast, Easy, Fresh WITH yeast? What is Bon Appetit smoking?

    Your focaccia turned out really pretty, though!!

    • Wendi says:

      It’s funny you should say that. Because of course, I wrote that the cookbook had a breads chapter BEFORE I actually looked at it. They are all quick breads. Not a speck of yeast to be found. So my quest continues. I’m not committed enough to bread to buy The Bread Bible just yet. Maybe one day.

      When I reread the post this morning I thought to myself, maybe I should add an update to say that Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh turned out to be a yeast free bread zone. And then of course, I promptly forgot all about it. I don’t know how exactly you have taken over space in my brain but I think there’s some telepathy going on between Maryland and Colorado.

  3. Tracy says:

    I’m of the no-knead-by-hand school when it comes to bread. I like my mixer to do the work. I’m also finding that less is more. The less time the dough comes into contact with human hands or dough hook, the more time it spends rising in a warm place, the higher it rises, the lighter the crumb. I do love bread.

    • Wendi says:

      I think what I really need is to find a bread class somewhere around here. Part of my frustration with bread and kneading and rising and whatnot is that I don’t know what it looks like and feels like when I’m where I need to be. So I think I overshoot the goal.

      Tracy, is there a bread recipe you are particularly successful with that might be good to try?

  4. Tracy says:

    I’ve had great success making the ciabatta recipe from The Bread Bible. That is no-knead at it’s best. The dough hook does all the work.

  5. insider53 says:

    I haven’t made focaccia yet but I have been wanting to try. This looks delicious. I found you through the kitchen witch and boy am I glad I did. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Wendi says:

      Robin, thank you for the kind words. I adore TKW, she’s one sassy woman.

      Good luck with the recipe. I’m working on conquering my fear of yeast.

      Thanks for stopping by and BonAppetit Hon !

    • Wendi says:

      Robin, thank you for the kind words. I adore TKW, she’s one sassy woman.

      Good luck with the recipe. I’m working on conquering my fear of yeast.

      Thanks for stopping by and BonAppetit Hon !

  6. Joanne says:

    Wendi,

    This looks awesome, I can’t say I am too much of a bread maker myself. I love to cook, but making bread is just not something I have dived into yet. Maybe I will give this a try.

    Also, we have nominated you for an award, take a look here: http://www.inspiredtaste.net/recipes/roasted-tomato-sauce-with-mint-and-feta-cheese

    Thanks, Joanne and Adam

    • Wendi says:

      Joanne and Adam, I’m curious to try mint in pasta sauce now that you say it’s a winning combination. Actually, I adore anything that has feta in it. Especially the French Feta in brine from Wegman’s. I know Hunt Valley is a ways to go for a specialty item but maybe you can find something similar a little closer to you in Annapolis. It is the BOMB.

      Thanks for nominating BAH for the award. I sound like someone at the Oscars…but it really is an honor just to be recognized for doing what I love to do.

      Good luck with your Joust entry. The burger and “fries” looked incredible. My attempt to come up with a recipe was a monstrous fail, except for some caramelized bacon. In my world, bacon is always a win. Maybe next month I’ll have better luck pulling something together for the Joust.

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